Knowledge, PIPA / Pippa and nursery rhymes.

by DannyUK

Knowledge. The most powerful weapon in the world.

Wikipedia blackout

Wikipedia’s front screen today.

So powerful, in fact, that Wikipedia have declared a blackout of the English part of their website for 24 hours to promote their disappointment at the U.S. Congress voting on “legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet”. They are concerned that the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) will effectively give the US government too much control over what can and cannot be shown on the internet. That’s it in a nutshell though you can garner your own opinions by reading the various sites on the subject.

The second most famous arse in the UK, behind Piers Morgan.

I’m not here to comment on whether SOPA or PIPA are a bad thing (though they are), I just think it’s nice that in 2011 we are talking about an arse on Pippa, and in 2012 we are getting the arse with PIPA. A nice twist to the whole story, and I’m surprised that the tabloids haven’t used the whole PIPA / Pippa similarity to show that picture again.

There is a small part of me that wonders how much of this is purely Wikipedia trying to highlight the problems with SOPA / PIPA, and how much is a massive advert for the website. Even if you use the site rarely, the chances are that you will have logged in today to see what the fuss is about. They’ve been a lead article in news items all over the world, and they kicked it up a notch this morning when people realised you could still access the site from mobile devices. Someone, somewhere at Wikipedia Towers, has either screwed up or - more realistically - is rubbing their hands together at this stroke of marketing genius.

Going back to knowledge, it’s manifests in many ways. I caught the VanCompare.com advert last night, which features the Chuckle Brothers, Paul and Barry. In a slapstick thirty seconds or so, they extol the virtues of van insurance from this company, all as Paul (or is it Barry?) manipulates various pieces of equipment that sees Barry (or is it Paul?) suffer. Laurel and Hardy would be spinning in their graves at such a sight. I turned to a friend and told her that there was a third Chuckle brother who wasn’t in the limelight. (This is true. I’d double-check on Wikipedia but… well… not today.) “How depressing must it be to the least successful Chuckle brother?” I asked her, laughing. It then struck me that if there’s three brothers in a family, and two are highly successful millionaires, you could be as successful as you’d ever dreamt and still be the least successful of the three. The Chuckle Brothers knowledge extends to the fact that people will pay them to act like pratts. That’s application of knowledge in a lucrative way.

Barry & Paul. (Or is it Paul & Barry?).

Unfortunately for me, my knowledge extends as far as revealing the existence of a third Chuckle brother, or telling everyone that Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the alphabet song (simply the tune you use when reciting the alphabet) are the same. Granted, I’m unlikely to use that to bring a stop to SOPA / PIPA, but then that’s the beauty of having a self-serving website that highlights these problems for us in a free worldwide ad campaign.

So God bless Wikipedia. And the Chuckle Brothers - even the least successful one. Though my reach may not be as great as there’s, I’d like to think I have at least got into your head a little. After all, don’t pretend you haven’t sung along to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star while reading this.

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